newprotest.org: MOLD

MOLD

December 04, 2007
by: jovial_cynic
For fear of my ants not getting enough water in the open farm setup, I decided to place the nest over a wet paper towel, and periodically put water on the paper towel to bring moisture into the dirt. I thought it was a clever idea until I checked this morning to see that half of the pile of dirt was covered in mold.

The ants discard the parts of the crickets or whatever that they don't plan to eat, and I guess they typically do it in a section of their tunnels. In the case of their current habitat, there's only one dirt section, and it's all rather confined, so they just shoved their scraps to the side.

I cleaned up the mold, added some new dirt, and changed up the tank again a bit. I have a temporary setup right now - I added a small piece of wood that's propped up a bit, and a bunch of the ants carried eggs and larva under it. The queen is currently still in the hotel with another group of ants, but I've moved them off of the wet paper towel. I'll have to think up another way of doing this.

Since the terrarium has a glass bottom, I managed to take a couple of pictures of the ants under the piece of wood I mentioned previously:



np category: ants
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COMMENTS for MOLD


Max Hyland said:
They look like a Crematogastor(sp?) species. The rings on the abdomen aren't consistent with the Formica I've seen.

I've got a wet paper towel hanging in the fantastic (though traditional) ant farm my father an I put together this weekend for watering. So far so good. Oh, and Formica obscuripes doesn't eat peas, if anyone was wondering. I'm thinking about blogging this project as well. :-D

December 04, 2007


Max Hyland said:
And then I see you have already reidentified them.
December 04, 2007


jovial_cynic said:
Yup - I learned that I was wrong a little while back. Thanks for the tip, though. :)
December 04, 2007


Max Hyland said:
Anyway; I just looked in the "tank" and the rolled up paper towel is working, the ants and putting pieces of dirt on it and carrying them away after a few minutes. If you try it, tell me if it works for you?

Did you use live or dead crickets?

December 05, 2007


jovial_cynic said:
I guess the dirt-on-wet-things process has a few functions, one of which is to carry moisture back to the nest, if necessary. Ants also do it to cover up wet spots, as ants can drown in drops of water.

But yeah - you can give the ants moisture by using a wet paper towel, and also by putting in wet fruit. If the ants don't go for it, it's probably because the colony has enough moisture in it.l

December 05, 2007


jovial_cynic said:
Also - dead crickets. I've had some live critters in the tank before, and my ants tend to ignore them.
December 05, 2007


Max Hyland said:
I'm going to try a live cricket with my ants- in my somewhat traumatic personal experience, Formica obscuripes is incredibly aggressive and kill anything unwelcome near their nest. But I guess all that does is make them Roman, farmers prone to epic violence.

A jar of dead crickets as well, because scavenging is a pretty universal behavior for ants I believe.

December 06, 2007


jovial_cynic said:
Yeah - F. Obscuripes is very aggressive; I've got a video of them taking down a hobo spider, and as a child, I'd catch bees and toss them into a jar of those ants... and yeah, the ants are ruthless.

I've never seen an F. Obscuripes queen, though. Do you have any queens in your collection?

And yeah - those ants will eat the dead as well.

December 06, 2007


Max Hyland said:
I don't know if I have a queen yet, I am still only 2 gallons into a 10 gallon box full of their nest.
They are hiding near the bottom if there are any.

I suspect I either have many queens or none. I may not have gone deep enough into the colony.

If I find a queen or two I plan on making several comparison pictures with workers and publishing everything I learn about them in one compendium, to make up for the lack of such knowledge available online. :-D

December 06, 2007


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